Alone Up There
See review this issue. Director Q&A via Skype following screening. Clinton Street Theater.
Bad Movie Nite
A mystery screening series featuring "some of the cheapest, cheesiest, and most unintentionally hilarious B-movies ever made." Clinton Street Theater.
"It obviously doesn't do any good to pull your heads off in front of people if they can't see you." Laurelhurst Theater.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
David Mitchell's 2004 novel Cloud Atlas has long been considered unfilmable, and make no mistake: It still is. The new movie by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer is very much an adaptation, borrowing the basic outline of Mitchell's book to create something entirely its own. The film juggles six characters with six distinct storylines, set in time periods ranging from the 1830s to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Given the audacity of its undertaking, Cloud Atlas is remarkably cohesive. Some storylines resonate more than others, but they're all efficiently told. But for all the energy and flair this adaptation possesses, it's so focused on pulling off the logistics of adapting Mitchell's novel that there isn't room for much depth. ALISON HALLETT Academy Theater, Kiggins Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater.
The world's first western blaxploitation revenge buddy comedy, Django Unchained is one of Quentin Tarantino's best movies—a brutal, hilarious, thrilling, messy bastard of a thing. It's the result of Tarantino gleefully making a balls-out western after years of almost doing so, and it's excellent that he did: The genre hasn't been served this well since Deadwood, No Country for Old Men, and Red Dead Redemption. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
A mushy lovenote to the gangster genre and a gun-happy bloodbath that gives Django Unchained a run for its money. It's a sweaty, haymaker-throwing brawler of a film with gorgeous art direction, snappy patter, blood-splattered violence, and the smoky come-hither eyes of Ryan Gosling. The heavy-handed clichés are pursued with such zealous affection that it's hard not to smile—until about the three-quarter mark. That's about the time when your smile slowly turns to disappointment after realizing there's nothing here but gorgeous clichés. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
Jan Švankmajer: Conspirator of Pleasure
A series celebrating wacky ol' Jan "Švanky" Švankmajer. This week's films: 1988's Alice and 1994's Faust. More info: nwfilm.org. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
A locally produced exploitation horror flick, with free barf bags offered to all audience members! Depending on your cinematic tastes, that is either a huge plus or a huge minus. Clinton Street Theater.
The Last Stand
The Last Stand plays like a commercial for a videogame meets a commercial for a car meets a trailer for "Arnold Schwarzenegger: Movie Star." It's both too dumb and not dumb enough. VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.
It's like Trapped in the Closet for white people who aren't in on the joke. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Mountain Runners
A documentary about "America's first mountain adventure race," taking place in Bellingham, Washington, from 1911 to 1913. Featuring dramatizations starring Cancer Man from The X-Files! Directors in attendance. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
My Name Is Joy
Local director Tom Chamberlin's film inspired by poet Sharon Doubiago. Director in attendance. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
A 2011 drama starring Will Oldham as "a strong-willed evangelical." Weird. Clinton Street Theater.
A monthly series at the Hollywood Theatre, "showing vintage and contemporary films that are obscure, neglected, and from the fringe." This month: Lee Frost's The Animal (1968), introduced by Ian Sundahl. Not to be confused with Rob Schneider's The Animal (2001), in which, "after receiving organ transplants from various animal donors, a man finds himself taking on the traits of those animals." Hollywood Theatre.
The Rolling Stones: Charlie Is My Darling - Ireland 1965
In 1965, the Rolling Stones did a two-day tour of Ireland, and their manager Andrew Loog Oldham hired filmmaker Peter Whitehead to bring his camera. The idea was to see if the Stones had the potential to become film stars like the Beatles, but much of this footage has been unseen for decades. The picture and sound have been given a full restoration—the performance footage sounds amazing—and Whitehead's access is revelatory. There's Mick Jagger, ruthlessly sexual at age 22. There's a youthful, almost cherubic Keith Richards before he became the Prince of Darkness. There's Brian Jones, eerily predicting his tragic future. There's Charlie Watts, already the coolest guy in the room; there's an onstage riot in Dublin; there's Mick and Keef, goofing backstage and accidentally writing "Sittin' on a Fence." It's all incredible, and it's all here. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
Rust and Bone
Reduced to its essential elements, there's tradition in Rust and Bone. Based on a collection of short stories by Canadian author Craig Davidson and directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), it's a slow-building love story between two people who begin in an acrimonious place—an oft-repeated arc that's comforting evidence that sometimes happiness comes from unhappiness, too. Rust's skin, on the flipside, is bizarre and grimy, and the paths of its characters are frightening and erratic—from one moment to the next, it's impossible to anticipate where this odd story will go. For example: There is a killer whale attack. MARJORIE SKINNER Fox Tower 10.
Celebrating 100 Years
A series of new 35mm prints of some of Universal's best and most famous movies. This week's selections include Magnificent Obsession, Blind Husbands, and a newly restored 35mm print of Jaws. More info: nwfilm.org. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Zero Dark Thirty
Spanning years and continents in America's search for Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty, the latest from The Hurt Locker team of director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal—says a lot, and none of it is comforting. But what is clear is how real it feels: Zero Dark Thirty zooms in on everything from computer screens to bullets ripping through metal and flesh, but whether Bigelow's capturing the blown-out harshness of a Middle Eastern desert, the empty flicker of florescent overheads, or the grainy green phosphorescence of night vision, she colors everything in shades of gray. For all the stark chatter around the film, there's no black and white in Zero Dark Thirty—which means there isn't any victory, either. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.